Presentation by Karen Melhuish at Cluster Sustainibilty Semiar November 2012


This page is for links/reflections from conference breakouts!

Learning@School 2010

Rachel - Waiuku

I went to an eportfolios workshop by Nick Rate. He had 5 different presenters talking about the different types of eportfolios that they do. All were online, three through wikis/blogs and two through Learning Management Systems (LMS) that had been purchased by the school - KnowledgeNet.
I thought Nick's basic eportfolios presentation would be useful to other staff.

Jan - Waiuku

I attended a breakout facilitated by Andrea Tapsell of Lynmore Primary School and some of her year 4 students.She shared the journey she has undertaken over the last few years as she learnt to add more depth to her ICT teacher rather than just teaching the 'froth on the top' as she did initially. Her 2010 class blog can be viewedhere.
Her children presented work from last year's blog and afterwards were available for discussion and demonstration. The best recommendation I got from them was for sound recording. They had several options in their class but they all agreed that Easi-speak was their first choice. It was easy to use and because it was portable they were able to take it outside to record wheras they often felt self-conscious recording in the classroom with an audience. It has a USB connection for charging and downloading and you are able to save in a choice of two formats.

View other Waiuku Staff Reflections here

Vicky - Waiuku

I attended the Hooked on Thinking Solo Taxonomy workshop by Pam Hook and Julie Mills. This inspired me to use the SOLO taxonomy through our Inquiry model.I was surprised how quickly I could adopt and understand the model and have experienced the same success with my staff in their own Inquiry unit planning this term. I am intrigued by its flexibility for a hierachy of thinking tools and questioning while also enabling students to move between the levels flexibly. We are also looking at using SOLO for developing success criteria for the Inquiry stages.

Stephen Gordon - Team Solutions/Sunnybrae Normal School

I found the conference to be inspiring and motivating. I attended as many breakout sessions as I could about inquiry learning in order to gauge the current understanding, progress and developments in this area. It was interesting to see how various clusters and their facilitators approached the topic and the knowledge gained from their experiences. Inquiry links and resources eBest ClusterTe Apiti ClusterQuest - I also enjoyed attending sessions about some of the online reources and Web 2.0 resources available to suppport e-Learning. E-learning tools and resource links - check them out! DigiStore90 tools!Google Fest

Nat - Everglade

I went to a workshop presented by an Australian educator. She was responsible for creating an online learning resource to assist teachers to improve their personal use of ICT. One of the things she spoke about was Blooms Digital Taxonomy. I thought it was worth having a look at! As of yet I have not made time to explore this site but the Digital taxonomy is easy to find. I think there are probably lots of resources on this to use them?

Angela - Papatoetoe Central

During the Conference I went to a really useful and interesting breakout on Thinking in the Junior Classroom by Claire Edwards who is the AP at Wesley Primary in Auckland. She really got me thinking about thinking and how I could incorporate thinking skills into my junior classroom.
Two great tools were using a questioning dice ( who, what, where, when, why and how) and the children having to compose their own question based on the W they rolled. From that initial step then the children had to roll the dice and instead of writing down their question they were able to video themselves stating their question. Claire also got her students using the digital cameras to record evidence of their findings.
For example, one question was "How do you know it's winter?"
Children then had to go outside and take photos of winter things such as another child in a jumper, the bare trees.

I thought it was simple yet effective ways of including Thinking and ICT :)

Alex - Papatoetoe Central

I went to an interesting breakout run by a team of teachers from a school who had recently finished an ICT contract. They gave examples of what they had been doing, where they started and where they are at now at the finish of the contract. We had a look at a class wiki and discussed how it was used. They also introduced me to some online tools and resources - and were among these. I found this breakout useful as I came away with some practical ideas for the classroom and enthusiasm to get into it!

Pelu - Deputy Principal - Papatoetoe Central School

There were many highlights for me at this years learning @ school conference. Ideas that were shared from Keynote speakers to delegates at the conference were either new and exciting or positive affirmation with the good things we are doing at PCS.

What stood out for me the most was listening to Tony Ryan and the importance of teacher welfare 2 key questions he challenged the group with I felt was really worth considering.

1. Do you ever get angry?
2. Are you fitter and healthier than other people your age?

He further focused on the teacher alone and highlighted some key points that we as teachers tend to forget in role. Which is looking after yourself and stop thinking about the children all the time.

Find below some points from the break out that stood out for me.

• Wellness, Innovation, Learning & Dialogue
• Stop thinking about the kids all the time. 50% you 50% others
• Inspired about learning
• Dialogue is important
• Get over it and move on
• Best resource is the human resource, your staff
• Teachers are tired due to practices in place.
• Sustainability!!
• Teaching takes up a lot of energy

Nadine- Ramarama School
One of the breakouts that I attended at the conference looked at the Inquiry Process trialled by a small, rural school. We viewed their purpose built wiki to explore the pedagogy that underpinned their Inquiry model and the tools they used.
I found their use of ‘Boolify’ to reinforce teaching around key words very interesting. There are also some good professional readings around questioning on their wiki.

Wendy - Everglade School

I found the breakout session 5 called "What teachers want" by Lyn Ross very practical. She focused the session on the practicalities of using e-tools for learning.
We were given examples of many different tools that could be used to enhance achievement and engagement of the students. As well as telling us about the tools and showing us examples of how they could be used, she gave us helpful hints and practical tips on the way to use these tools. The audience was also invited to join in with this and could offer sloutions and suggestions to those who asked questions. I came away with lots of inspiration and went straight online to try out some of the new tools I had learned about.

A really great example of a class blog was one about a softtoy called Rodney the rat.
The children had turns at taking Rodney home for the weekend or the holidays. The had to take some digital photos of Rodney spending the weekend with them. (class digital camera was also sent home) During the weekend the parents and child wrote a paragraph explaining what Rodney had been up to with them. This and the photos was uploaded to the class blog on the Monday. Rodney even got to go on a family hoilday to Paris! It was a great example of collaboration with the home. I suggest showing this link to the teachers at your school to inspire them.

Viki Holley (Principal Reremoana)

Julia Atkin’s workshops were part of the Leadership strand. Some of the key points:
• the importance of having ‘soft’ technologies in place before ‘hard’ technologies can work well.beliefs
• change should be driven by values and beliefs rather than external forces
• slow change is good - change occurs for individuals at different rates
• a good reminder about the different groups within our schools in relation to any change...
early adopters - when they are considered credible by others and they pick up something a whole lot of others come on board
late adopters - pick up when had to
resisters - need them to find the problems - keep us real, makes us justify and think through, attending to detail

She spoke about the power of ‘story’ when exploring change with staff - a way to surface the values that each person has:
image and story are the most powerful way to bring out people’s values and beliefs.
listening means we can put ourselves into the shoes of learner and teacher
hearing story gives life to concepts rather than just telling the words

Heath McNeil (Principal Ramarama)
One of the Breakout sessions I attended was Trevor Bond's take on Inquiry. ICTNZ - Trevor's Website

His first message was that Inquiry was not simple. If it was then all schools would be doing it effectively.

He identified the issues that many schools face:
  • inconsistency
  • implementation & understanding
  • choosing and using a model
  • what it’s role in the curriculum?
  • challenges of Yr 1-8 multi level differentiated learning / inquiry
  • planning expectations
  • weaving the spirit of inquiry throughout the school
  • making it authentic

These issues tend to result in the following: students lost in information overload, shallow gather and present tasks, incomplete Inquiries (black holes, run out of time), students unable to locate relevant information and most of all frustrated teachers.

There were two of the main messages that made me think about the journey that our cluster and more specifically our school is undertaking.

Firstly, celebrate the decisions, thinking & solutions rather than a narrow presentation.
Move away from the Celebration of the found - a lot of inquiries are based on chew and spew - regurgitation of information
Move towards Celebration of the the understood (problem, task or issue) with the solution as a focussed end point. Using the information to create a solution.

Secondly, work out what Inquiry means for your school. That is , your goals for implementing inquiry - what are they? why are you doing it!!
the goals for implementing inquiry - what are they? why are you doing it!!

John Robinson - Principal Everglade School

Two breakouts I went to were interesting. The first, by Julie Mills and Pam Hooks , was on the SOLO tool. It didn't grab me as much as I thought; however, it was a means of channelling thinking, and providing a structure for developing children's learning skills, so from that point of view it might be worth further investigation.
The second breakout was run by Trevor Bond, who seemed a real character.His session was entitled: Inquiry Learning-what is good learning and what is good inquiry? He cut to the heart of a lot of issues, as he spoke of the integrity of learning. When we think of ICT or e-learning, our thoughts often go to the'bells and whistles' in terms of the pretty presentations etc. The reality is,as we can easily forget, it is the quality of thinking/learning that counts. More can be achieved by authentic learning using plain paper and pencil than by regurgitation of known information using a pretty-making tool. So again, the tools only exist to serve the learning activity. It sounds very obvious, but it is easy to look past this, in the same way that we think more of the neat bookwork with nice borders than we do of the plain. I have now expanded my library of mantras to include: "Beware the CoF and FRoF" For those not in the know, CoF = Celebration of the Found, and FRoF = Factual Regurgitation of the Found.

As for an Inquiry Model, to a large extent this is what you make it. We will be building our model this year.